Much like Facebook’s posts and ability for friends to comment and/or like a post, Ravelry, a knitter’s online paradise, has a function called forums. Forums are generally written and like-interested people comment, share, like, or otherwise support the theme of the post. Reading these threads is as interesting as posting on them. Groups on Ravelry generally have many such forums going on at once and of course, there are people in all ranges of activity on them. Some are so active, they have become moderators and those moderators are now posting what we affectionately call challenges. This is true within the Vogue Knitting Group, at least. This is where the inspiration came, or maybe an excuse, to go all the way back to my complete VK magazine collection dating Fall/Winter 1982 (easy access here on shelving).
Well, at this point, this project has been knitted twice. Not by choice, of course, but to eliminate too much shelf time, aka, not be worn. I knit to wear so if there is something about a garment that doesn’t feel right or comfortable, I know its future is doomed. I must say, the fabric that was created by this stitch was the conundrum.
The honeycomb stitch is a type of cable that is dense, especially when using Lion Brand’s fisherman wool . . held double. Not so much dense in weight as the pulled stitches create a kind of air hole behind it. Maybe, you can make this out here, but dense in body.
I am talking about a recently finished garment, my first of 2018. First due to the nature of my newly single life (adjusting/managing/accepting) but also first due to the intricacies of what was on my needles. In all fairness to the publisher of Vogue Knitting, the pattern was marked as ‘expert’ which means a high level of difficulty to knit, so I guess I was warned.
It begins as a knitting project but somehow each garment ends up having a more involved back story. This project was all about finding the right yarn or should I say, the right yarn combination.
Fur varsity jacket. As quickly as I could say those words, fur varsity jacket, I was smitten. Vladimir Teriokhin never disappoints and again here I was ready and willing to embark on another one of his designs.
This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming. I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects. I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash. To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.
First and foremost in choosing a project, that project must be wearable in my lifestyle and go with the existing pieces I have in my wardrobe. Of course, I am always looking at new trends in fashion, as I would like to think that even in retirement, I can continue on this quest of always looking fashion-forward. But, what I have realized is that not all the pieces I intended on knitting are appropriate to wear in retirement and that I need to tweak my intentions for better purpose once knitted. In an effort to get my yarn and pattern stash aligned to my lifestyle of retirement, I’ve had to do some reconsidering of patterns and re-shifting of yarns. This has encouraged me to catalog remnants into their respective weights. The more I play with my yarn, the more ideas I am getting and the more possibilities I seem to muster. While this is exciting and certainly mindful of utilizing all of the materials I have here at home, I continuously need to remind myself to have patience and that I will eventually be able to act on many of these ideas.
This process has me researching in places I didn’t even know patterns existed. Such places as VogueKnitting.com > free pattern tab or LionBrand.com > free patterns. Maybe, most yarn companies with websites have free pattern availability. A function on Ravelry that has become most helpful is the pattern tab and its settings on the left-hand margin with specific criteria, being able to drill down to what you are looking for thus making pattern research more expedient. Also, the function on Ravelry called queue has never been as helpful to me as it is right now as I can keep my pattern ideas listed there so as not to forget. Well, one thing led to another and pretty much this is how I found ‘Trench Coat’ by Wilma Peers, a pattern from Vogue Knitting’s online pattern store. Not a free pattern, but on sale. I literally paid pennies.
I am drawn to the unexpected when knitting. Or the juxtaposition of opposites which oftentimes leads to the unexpected. For example a cardigan that can be flipped upside down or right side up or glamorous yarn knitted into a hoodie, or pleats in super bulky weight yarn. When I think of a trench coat, I think of rain or wind and in a twill type of fabric. So, the fact that this pattern was suggesting knitting a Trench Coat was highly interesting to me. Hmm. . . I thought. A trench coat for blue skies! Complete with lapels and pocket flaps and what appeared to be a beautiful contrast edging, I had to go for it.
Then I noticed the suggested yarn. Acrylic. 100% acrylic. Oh, boy my mind began racing with all the thoughts of what could go wrong with this project in this yarn. On the other hand, being so inexpensive I thought I would give it a try and when all fails, simply start over with yarn I knew more about.
So, I began and learned the half linen stitch. This half linen stitch, formed with slip stitches and yarn carried on the outside of the work, creates a woven looking fabric. Being of bulky weight (by title only as the yarn itself is as light as a feather), knitting the pieces really just motored along. No button holes, no pockets (what you see are just flaps added on at the end), this was really a breeze to knit. 5 pattern pieces (back, 2 fronts, 2 sleeves, and the collar which is picked up from the neck and knitted) and it was time for my favorite part of any project, the finishing touches. Bands were fairly easy to knit up the front however I had to readjust the number of stitches I picked up (way less than what was called). And, for some unknown reason, the side seams were not cooperating as I felt they should. A minor bit of blocking helped that matter and truthfully I was surprised acrylic even responded to blocking. The collar edging as well as the flap edging was downright fun to do. One has to pick up the stitches neatly as when the lapel is wide open flips to the front with the raw edge to the outside.
Well, I kept waiting for epic fail of this project. I got to the end and to my surprise, I have what I think, is a beautiful, trendy trench that can easily be worn with today’s shapes underneath.